Uncrossing the Eyes: Treating Strabismus

By Gordon Wong, OD on March 30, 2016

A baby at the eye doctor's officeThe team at GW Eye Associates Inc has helped countless patients in and around San Diego achieve great eyesight and optimal vision. This is thanks to our customized approach to eye care, with a focus on total wellness.

One of the common eye conditions that many people misunderstand is strabismus. Most people know it as a lazy eye or crossed eyes, but the issue involves much more than that. Let's explain.

What Is Strabismus?

Strabismus is a condition in which a patient's eyes are not properly aligned, making one eye seem lazy or crossed compared to the other. The misalignment of the eyes can be quite pronounced when a person looks up, down, to the side, or at an angle.

Three Types of Strabismus

The three different kinds of strabismus are:

  • Esotropia - The most common type of strabismus, this is when an eye turns inward toward the nose

  • Exotropia - Also known as walleye, this is when an eye turns outward toward the corner of the eye

  • Hypertropia - A less common type of strabismus, this is when an eye is pointed up toward the forehead

What Causes of Strabismus?

The most common cause of strabismus is weak muscles of the lazy eye. When an eye is weaker, there may be a tendency for the more dominant eye to become stronger.

As with many other eye diseases, strabismus has a genetic component to consider. There is a higher chance of experiencing strabismus if a family member also had the condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Strabismus

The most common sign of strabismus is the varying misalignments of the eyes, which can be very noticeable when a patient moves his or her eyes. Strabismus is usually detected at an early age even without the need for an eye exam.

Sometimes the strabismus is subtle, which means that the eye alignment issue is difficult to detect. In these cases, the strabismus is responsible for eyestrain, eye aches, eye fatigue, and headaches. Proper detection of more subtle cases of strabismus will come from regular eye exams.

Treatment Options for Strabismus

When it comes to treating strabismus, there are different treatment options to consider.

  • In many cases, corrective lenses may be used to help revise the vision of the patient and help realign the two eyes in the process.

  • When caught early, doctors will work on strengthening the less dominant eye so that the eyes eventually become aligned. This can be achieved by using medication to weaken the dominant eye. The weaker eye will then have to work its muscles to achieve optimal vision, making it stronger in the process. The dominant eye can also be covered with an eye patch so that the weaker eye can become stronger.

  • If a patient does not respond well to the use of corrective lenses, eye patches, or eye medication, surgery is a final option. It's ideal for more conservative treatments to be used first.

Contact the Team at GW Eye Associates Inc

To learn more about treating and diagnosing strabismus and how we can help you experience enhanced vision, be sure to contact our advanced eye care center today. The team at GW Eye Associates Inc looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve optimal eye health.

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